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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  December 3, 2009 6:00am-7:00am EST

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leverage ranges from experts with u.s. funded,ng o's. it's a cliche to say we have our best people in these jobs but it happens to be true. i met with an american colonel that told me while he had thousands of outstanding soldiers under his command. none of them had the 40 years of agricultu)e of the su ada civilian serving a side the battalion. or civilian experts of the state department. he said i'm happy to supply whatever support the civilians need and we need more of them. the president's strategy will make that possible. not only do we have the right people to achieve objectives but we have a high strat if i we'll bolster afghanistan's agriculture sector the traditional core. this will create jobs and reduce
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funding taliban receive from poppy cultivation and we'll su part an afghan led effort to open the door to those taliban that are abandoning violence and want to reintegrate in afghan society. we understand those that fight do not so do so out of conviction but for coercion and all afghans should have áhe choice to pursue a future and respect pav sick human rights of fellow citizens and reintegrate in society. future. a regional diplomacy compliment this is approach mitigating interference in afghanistan and working to shift the calculus of neighboring countries from competition for influence to cooperation and economic integration. we also believe a strong, stable, democratic pakistan must be a key partner in the fight against violent extremism.
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and people in pakistan are increasingly coming to view that we do share a common enemy. i heard this repeatedly during my recent visit. so our relationship needs to be anchored in common goals of civilian rule, robust economic development and the defeat of those who threaten pakistan, afghanistan, the united states and the rest of the world. we'll significantly expand support intended for pakistan to develop the potential of their people. we will do so by demonstrating a commitment to pakistan that has been questioned by the pakistanis in the past. and we will make sure that the people of pakistan know that we wish to be their partner for the long term. and that we intend to do all that we can to bolster their futures. now, we are not going to be facing these challenges alone. we share this responsibility with governments around the world. i will go to brussels tomorrow to begin the process of securing
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additional alliance commitments of troops, trainers and resources. we expect secretary general rasmussen to have announcement today about the progress we're making in that effort. ambassador holbrooke, our special representative is already there consulting with our allies and we are also asking the international community to expand its support to pakistan. our objectives are shared by people in governments across the world and we are particularly reaching out to muslims everywhere. let me conclude where i began. we face a range of difficult choices in afghanistan and pakistan. but the president's plan represents the best way we know to protect our nation today and in the future. the task we face is as complex as any national security challenge in our lifetimes. we will not succeed if people view this effort as a responsibility of a single party, a single agency within our government or a single country. we owe it to the troops and
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civilians who are face these dangers to come together as americans. and come together with allies and international partners who are ready to step up and do more. we have to accomplish this mission. and i look forward to working with you to help meet this challenge. thank you all very much. >> thank you, very much, madame secretary. admiral mull snn. >> mr. chairman, senator mccain, distinguished members thof committee, thank you for your time today. let me state right up front i support fully and without hesitation the president's decision. and i appreciate the opportunity to contribute to what i believe was a healthy and productive discussion. i've seen my share of internal debates about various national security issues, especially over the course of these last two years. and i can honestly say i do not remember an issue so thoroughly considered as this one. every military leader in the chain of command as well as those of the joint chiefs was given voice throughout this
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process and every one of us used it. we now have before us a strategy more appropriately matched to the situation on the ground in afghanistan and resources matched more appropriately to that strategy. particularly with regard to reversing the insurgency's momentum in 2010. and given the stakes in afghanistan for our own national security, as well as that of our partners around the world, i believe the time we took was well worth it. secretary clinton and gates -- secretaries clinton and gates have already walked you through large policy issues in question. i will not repeat them. from a purely military perspective, i believe our new approach does three critical things. first, by providing more discrete objectives it offers better guidance to commanders on the ground about how to employ their forces. they'll still work to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al qaeda and prevent afghanistan from become ago safe haven.
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they'll still strive to protect the afghan people who remain the center of gravity. they will still pursue major elements of the counter insurgency campaign which as we all know involves at least some measure of active counter terrorism operations. but now, they will tailor this campaign and those oerngss by focusing on key population areas by increasing pressure on al qaeda's leadership, by more effectively working to degrade the taliban's influence and streamlining and accelerating the growth of competent afghan national security forces. at its coret strategy is about providing breathing space for the afghans to secure their own people and to stabilize their own country. it's about partnering and mentoring just as much if not more than it is about fighting. where once we believed that finishing the job meant to a large degree doing it ourselves,
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we now know that it cannot truly or permanently be done by any one other than the afghans themselves. fully a third of the u.s. troops in theater are partnered with afghan forces and i expect that number to rise significantly throughout 2010. secondly, but not insignificantly, this new strategy gives commanders on the ground resources and the support they need to reverse the momentum of the taliban insurgency. and to accomplish these more limited objectives. i have said it before and i believe it still today, this region is the epicenter of global islamic extremism. it is the place from which we were attacked on 9/11. and should we be hit again, it is the place which from which i'm convinced the planning, training and funding will emanate. al qaeda may, in fact, be the architect of such an attack but the taliban will be the
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bricklayers. though hardly a uniformed body, taliban groups have grown bolder and more sophisticated. we saw that just a few months ago in the valley where taliban forces attacked outposts using what i would call almost conventional, small unit tactics. their fighters are bert organized and better equipped than they were just one year ago. in fact, coalition forces experienced record high violence this past sum we are insurgent attacks more than 60% above 2008 levels. and through brutal intimidationt taliban has established shadow governmentings across the country, coercing the support of many locals and challenging the authority of elected leaders in state institutions. indeed, we believe the insurgency achieve add dominant influence in 11 of afghanistan's 34 provinces. to say that there is no serious threat of afghanistan falling once again into taliban hands
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ignores the audacity of even the insush general sy's most public statements. teen argue that should they have that power the taliban would not at least tolerate the presence of al qaeda on afghan soil is to ignore both the recent past and the evidence we see every day of collusion between these factions on both sides of the afghanistan-pakistan border. the cost of failure is then grave. that is why the president's decision for an extended surge to afghanistan of 30,000 additional forces is so important. it gets the most u.s. force into the fight as quickly as possible giving general mcchrystal everything he needs in 2010 to gain the initiative. it validate it is adherence to a counter insurgency approach and offer it is troops in afghanistan the best possible
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chance to set the security conditions for the afghan people to see our commitment to their future, for the karzai government to know our strong desire to see his promised reforms, for the afghan taliban to understand they will not, they cannot take back afghanistan. and for those beyond afghanistan who support the taliban, or would see the return of al qaeda to realize the futility of their pursuit. i should add that these reinforcements come on top of the 21,000 troops the president ordered shortly after taking office. troops which have already made a huge difference in the southern helmand valley. but as i have testified before, mr. chairman, no amount of troops and no amount of time will ever be enough to completely achieve success in such a fight. they simply must be accompanied by good governance and healthy, public administration. this not troop numbers is the
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area of my greatest concern. like everyone else, i look forward to working with the karzai government but we must have the support of international communities, as well. and that brings me to my final point. the president's new strategy still recognizes the criticality of a broad-base aid proech to regional problems. he does not view afghanistan in isolation anymore than he view it is ties between al qaeda and the taliban as superficial. he's called for stronger and more productive cooperation with neighboring pakistan which is like wise under the threat from radical elements and whose sup sport vital to our ability to eliminate safe havens. he's pledged and we in the military welcome renewed emphasis on securing more civilian expertise to the effort. and that is happening. more contributions by other nato nations, and a realistic plan to transition responsibilities to the afghans.
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his is a more balanced, more flexible and achievable strateg and real possibilities, and speaking for the 2.2 million men and women who must execute it and who, with their families have borne the brunt of the st you will all have an opportunity to ask questions. >> there has been some confusion about whether the beginning date for troop reductions is set for july 2011 with the pace of those reductions being condition based or whether the 2011 july starting date itself is dependent on conditions on the ground. which is it? >> mr. chairman, it is july 2011
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is when we expect the transition process to begin. our view is -- quite conditions based? >> no, certification. >> due to the partnering ratio, there are over 10,000 u.s. troops in the province and southern afghanistan. there partnered with only 1500 or so afghan soldiers. the partnering goal of the united states is almost the reverse. paraphrasing the national security council director, the three afghan to one u.s. ratio helps prevent afghan units from relying too much on the u.s.
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unit to the detriment of the afghan units development. the current number of troops could and should be partnering with 20,000 or so afghan troops. we have more than enough for that purpose. nor do we expect 20,000 troops to be assigned to partner with us. there will be 10 dozen more afghan troops deployed to hellman in the coming years, to be divided equally between u.s. and british forces. >> so, first, secretary gates, are my numbers correct? >> let me defer to add mirl mu lynn. >> i thur numbers as far as
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those currently partnered according to the availability of afghan soldiers in the south. >> in terms of what we expect to be deployed for the troops? okay. õ>> sounds right. >> i thought a heard the president at the meeting yesterday in the old executive office building say that we would not have our troops clear an area unless they could turn the cleared area over to afghans. the secretary gates, did i hear him correctly and if so, how is that possible? given the afghan availability of forces. >> let me start and invited a mirl to chime in. clearly. accelerateing the growth of the afghan national army and police, is vitally important. but we're also looking, as i
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suggested in my remarks at local forces as well. partnering with local security forces, so there are, there is more than just the afghan national police and national army in this mix. the plan yearly is that we will responsibility to the afghans until the afghans have the capacity in that district or that province to be able to manage the security situation on their own. with us and our allies initially in a tactical watch and strategic over watch situation. the reality is set the circumstances in iraq differ from province to province. the difficulty will depend on the circumstances in each of
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these areas. in sum, it will take your afghans. a big part of this is additional training will put more and more afghans into the site and into a position where they can take responsibility for security. one of the purposes of the u.s. going in with additional forces is not just to partner with the afghans or to train the afghans, but to degrade the capabilities. you have a situation where the capabilities are rising at a time when our combat forces are degrading the taliban. >> do i understand that there will be situations where our troops will be clearing in the
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area and not have afghans available yet? >> i think it is fair. if i could just briefly. when general do with general mcchrystal showed up, there were virtually no units. -- when general mcchrystal showed up, and there were virtually no units. >> not the three-one ratio. >> we are not there yet. this is in training in fighting. b>> what will be the afghan army projected size by july 2011? >> the goal by december of 2010 is 134,000. >> my question is july of 2011. >> about 170,000.
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>> thank you. i think it is important to tell the american people and it is likely that casualty's will go up during the course of this troop increase. >> [unintelligible] i was very clear about the potential there. casualty's would go up. i didn't think there is any question that that is part of the risk associated with this additional trick. >> i think the american people need to understand it. but i agree with you. >> in answer to the question, he said there was a condition based withdrawal plan for july 2011. he said no. would we withdraw our troops
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based on conditions on the grounds are on an arbitrary date regardless of conditions? >> we are talking about the beginning of a process, not the end of the process. approximately 60% of the can stand today is not controlled by the taliban or has significant influence. >> my question is, will the date of withdrawal of 2011 be based on an arbitrary date of july 2011 regardless of conditions on the ground? >> i think it is a judgment that we will be in a position where we will be able to begin the transition. >> let's suppose you are not. let's suppose that conditions
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would jeopardize the mission. would we do it anyway? the president has indicated that we will have a thorough review of how we are doing. i think we will be in a position to a body weight whether we can begin that. >> the president announced he would begin withdrawing with a hard date. i do not know why it was particular the pit. he has announced that. he said conditions on the ground. those are too incompatible statements. you either have a winning strategy and want its exceeded we withdraw or we will have a date with drop of july to the smell of them.
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wood is it? it is one or the other. -- date the withdrawal of july 2011. what is it? it is one or the other. >> i do not think that is the key factor here. we will have a thorough review of december 2010. if it appears the strategy is not working, then we will take a hard look at the strategy itself. >> i say with respect, i think the american people need to know whether we will begin in 2011 and conditions or right or whether we will just be withdrawn no matter what. >> our plan is that we will begin the transition in local areas in july of 2011. we will evaluate in december 2010 whether we believe we will be able to meet that objective.
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>> i think that has to be made very clear. right now the expectation level is that we will be withdrawn regardless of conditions on the grounds. i think that the run regression to give our friends and enemies. . .
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>> is general mcchrystal was the view that these additional forces will allow them to have us in the right direction. we will have solid indicators at that point. obviously the july 2011 date is the day we start transferring responsibility and transitioning. it is not a day that we are leaving, and the president also said that will be based on conditions on the ground. >> and it makes no sense for him to have announced the date. but i am sure we will continue this discussion. secretary clinton, i appreciate your statement, but i would like a lot more specifics. we know that there are divisions within the embassy and kabul. we know that cables were leaked that the ambassador there was against any increases in troops
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there. we know that relations within the embassy -- we also know that the ability will of state department personnel has been significantly limited, as it was prior to the surge in iraq because the environment is not safe for them to go out and operate. i have great confidence in the military . operational planning. i am confident it can succeed. but as i said earlier, i do not see the bill component id, and i would like for you to submit to this committee a very specific plan, just as we are receiving a very specific military plan, on exactly how we are going to achieve the build part of it, which i think there is an adequate model for it in the case of iraq. appreciate your statements, and i agree with you about the quality of personnel. i have yet to see a comprehensive, convincing plan to implement the essential civil
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side of any successful surge. >> senator mccain, first let me say we are more than happy to submit a plan. we have obviously been working with our committee of jurisdiction and authorization on a very close, ongoing basis, and will be happy to share a lot of the information with you. we would welcome your response and your advice. i have to say, however, that the process we engaged in solicited opinions, and i thought it was a great tribute to the president and general jones that the white house ran a process that actually sought out and made it clear that diversity of opinion was welcome. i thought it was useful to hear from a variety of sources. it would not surprise you that
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people had different opinions, based on their perspective. as admiral mullen just eloquently said, the president has made a decision. there is absolute unity and a commitment to carrying out the mission. we will be happy to share the specifics of that with you. >> thank you very much, and they all the witnesses, who we appreciate enormously their contributions to our country. >> we are going to take advantage of the presence of a quorum here to take one minute to consider the 190038 pending military nominations as well as the civilian nomination of clifford stanley, terry yonkers to be assistant secretary of the air force, and lawrence romo to be secretary of the service.
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all in favor say aye. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i knew you would appreciate that intervention. >> thank you for your excellent opening statements and for all the hard and effective work that you did in support of the policy that the president announced last night. i agree with what senator mccain said, that the president has made the right decision in embracing a counterinsurgency strategy for afghanistan and resources get properly. in making this decision, president obama has respectfully disagree with a majority of members of his own political party, according to every public opinion poll i have seen. therefore, i think it's fair to say that the president has quite
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literally put our national security interests ahead of partisan political interest. i hope that fact will inspire and encourage a majority of members of both political parties to do the same, and to thereby show that america's political leadership is still capable of suspending partisanship at the water's edge when our security and our troops are on the line. as chairman of the homeland security committee, i am very grateful to president obama for arguing so effectively last line that the war in afghanistan is a war of necessity because it's outcome is inseparable from our security here at home. that >> that is why i believe there is no substitute for victory over the islamist, extremist and terrorists in afghanistan. war of necessaryty must not just be fought buá of necessity, be
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won. last night in the most controversial paragraph of his speech president barack obama said we'll begin transfer of forces out of afghanistan in july of 2011. that troubled me when i heard it but then the president added words to reassure me. which were we'll execute this transaction responsibly taking into account conditioned on the groun". secretary gates this morning you added more detail i think to the, admiral mu len you did too to the mode we'll begin this transition in july of 2011. and i'm maginally struck that you refer to it's a transfer of security responsibility and you also say that it will be very much like what we did in iraq. international security forces
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provided over watch. first aá the tactical level and then at the strategic level. secretary gates am i cjq(u in concluding what will definitely begin in july of 2011, is a transfer of security responsibility to the afghans, but may not include immediately a withdrawal of forces from afghanistan? >> that is correct. i think that as we turn over more districts and more provinces to afghan security control, much as we did with the provincial iraqi control, that there will be a thinning of our forces and a gradual drop down. i would remind folks here, since this is the second surge i have been up here defending, that the surge in iraq lasted 14 months.
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january 2007 to march 2008, and frankly, it was pretty apparent to the taliban, or to our adversaries in iraq, rather, all along, that that was a very tentative situation, because we were up here defending it practically every day. so the notion that our adversaries in afghanistan are not aware of the debates in this country in the debates in europe and elsewhere is unrealistic. they know these things, but the reality is, this is going to be a process. i think it has much in common with the way that we began to drop down in -- we began to draw down in iraq. >> we are likely to transfer security responsibilities to the afghans in the areas that are most able, most uncontested at the beginning, and we will
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probably put our troops backed away is just to see how that works, rather than taking them out of the country. >> we are not just going to throw these guys into the swimming pool and walk away. the reality is, first of all, those transfers are going to take place in the most uncontested places in afghanistan, so just as in iraq, you may have some districts and provinces being transferred to afghan security responsibility, and at the same time have extraordinarily heavy combat going on in other provinces around the country, which is exactly what we saw in iraq. >> am i right that in the policy the president announced last night, which does begin the transfer security responsibility of july 2011 to the afghans, there is no deadline for the end of that transfer? it will be based on conditions on the ground. >> it will be based on conditions on the ground, but by the same token, we want to communicate to the afghans, this
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is not an open ended commitment on the part of the american people and our allies around the world. >> i agree with that. >> we need to build a fire under them to get them to do the kind ofjár training and so on for their forces that allow us to make this transition. let me draw another analogy to iraq. in iraq, once it was clear the surge was working, it was pretty plain that the iraqis wanted us out about as fast as possible. the security agreement and everything flowed from that. that is not entirely clear in afghanistan. they live in a very rough neighborhood. we have a balancing act here and the centerpiece of our debate for the last several months is, how you did the afghans to begin to step up the responsibility for their own future, there on security in a way that allows us
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to have confidence that they will not once again become the safe haven for al qaeda? the hearing now that balance in terms of how you incentivize and get a sense of urgency to the afghan, and at the same time signal results to our adversaries, was the tough part of this for us. >> i appreciate that answer. >> to me that is the essence of moving down the road to victory in afghanistan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i was going to start out with the in that status, that it has been pretty well covered right now. and probably speaking on behalf of all the members up here, because the troops themselves,
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they want to win, and they did not like to even talk about a withdrawal date and that type of thing. let me just ask you a quick question, admiral mullen. most of the time, commanders talk about different options and courses of action. they talk about the risk involved and that the risk is either usually low, medium, or high. was there a risk level associated the general mcchrystal's 40,000 increase? >> broglie moderate, but the real critical path here is the development of the afghan security forces, which we all think was high risk, particularly on the police side. that is one of the reasons he shifted the partner in, and one of the reasons we are devoting our best people, best leaders, resources to accelerating that so that we can do what the secretary of defense -- >> i will pursue that in just a
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minute. i would assume that the number 30,000 would be a little higher risk than the moderate risks. >> what i said in my state is, general mcchrystal is going to get these forces this year, as fast as we can get in there. the biggest concern is to reverse the momentum. he thinks he can do it with these forces. >> i was privileged to be with general jones the last week he was on the job over there, and i know some of the differences between afghanistan and iraq. i have been asked a lotl%:kñ ofe time, if we are looking at, during the peak of the surge in iraq, about 165,000 americans, and when you start with 68,000 and add 30,000 to it, you are talking about 100,000. why does it take fewer of our troops in afghanistan relative
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to the size it is in iraq? >> one of the great strengths of the review was to focus the objectives specifically, and to focus the objectives on key population centers. the troops general mcchrystal has asked for and that will add up to about 100,000 do that in key areas that in particularly in the pashtun belt, where he believes he can turn this around. while the ratio is a guide, it is not sacrosanct. he is able to focus where we need to focus to get at this insurgency. actually, the same was true in iraq. it is just been at this need with respect to these ratios is about right for afghanistan. >> that is one of the reasons why they added contributions from our allies and partners are so important.
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basically we want them to take responsibility for the northern and western parts of afghanistan so that we can concentrate and focus our efforts in the southern and eastern parts of the country. >> secretary gates, i think one thing that all of you sit in your opening statements is we need of better participation by the iraqis and by the non american coalition. we all agree with that. i happened to be over there in 2003 when we were turning over the training of the ana to the afghans. it was the oklahoma 45th guard unit that was in charge of that. they contend that they are great warriors, and yet you look around and see so many of these young, healthy afghans that are walking the streets who ought to be in the military. what can we do differently to encourage greater participation with the ana? >> one of the things they are
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doing that makes a real difference is significantly increasing the pay, both of the police and the army. the reality is that based on the information available to us, in many instances the taliban actually pays more than the afghan government. one of the things, particularly in terms of retention, is to increase their pay. i think most people believe that that will have a real impact. >> the secretary talked a retention, recruiting, and incentivizing that from a paid standpoint being critical. the other fundamental difference, since general mcchrystal got there, is this partnership peace. what i think you saw was mentoring and training teams. this is partnering, and is
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getting everybody off their bases and out in the communities. those two differences are fundamental. >> the question about what we do different in terms of encouraging more of that non military forces. i was pleased with the statement the president made when he talked about the fact that he had talked to some of the nato allies before coming out with this. i wish she had done the same thing on the site in poland. by doing that, will it encourage them, make them feel more a part of this? is that a good move? >> absolutely. >> what else can we do to encourage more of the non american coalition? >> secretary clinton has been talking to her counterparts. i have been talking to my counterparts. we are hearing at 1000 here, a hundred their, and so on. i think we will make the goal, and as somebody who has been
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critical of the allies and was once derided by my british colleagues for megaphone diplomacy, because i was giving him such a hard time on this, we have to realize that the non u.s. forces have increased in the last two years from about 17,000 to 18,000 troops to almost 44,000. with this ad, we will be at nearly 50,000 non-u.s. troops in afghanistan. that is a pretty significant commitment. >> for the record, madam secretary, you made the statement about karzai in the speech he made. i hope it is not just empty words. for the record, if you would give us your indication, your feelings about what he can do now to accomplish what you had suggested. >> i certainly will, but if i could just quickly add, one of the most important parts of his speech was his assertion that
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afghan forces would be taking responsibility for many important parts of the country within three years, and that they would be responsible for the entire country within five years. that is very much along the lines of the kind of partnering in transition that we think is realistic. we just have to keep the feet to the fire and keep pushing it forward. >> there has been much made about this withdrawal goal as arbitrary. based on the advice of general mcchrystal and your it buys about expectation of what the situation on the ground would be in 2011, given these additional resources and the change of policy, is that correct? >> i have a very clear view, and i think soda's general petraeus and mcchrystal, that by mid 2011
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we will know whether we were going to succeed here are not. that is in something we have discussed and we agree on. that is why getting these forces in so quickly is so important to try to reverse this thing. some of it is based on the fact that marines have been in helmand this year, so marines will have been in one of the toughest places for three fighting seasons, and with the additional forces, we think we will have very strong indicators about how this is going, and our ability to transfer and transition at that point. >> so you would not describe the day as arbitrary? >> no sir, it was not arbitrary. that said, with the president also said is it would be responsible and it would be based on conditions. all of us can look out and speculate what those conditions will be, but i think we have to be c >> i think we have to be careful but that's goal right
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now. >> i would just clarify if i could. july 2011 date is chosen because it will be two years after the marines ar)ived in helmond. >> giving them the fighting obligations and challenges. the issue of the deadline also raises the issue of our position in iraq. there's a deadline there mr. secretary, that's legal deadline which i realize couldn't be changed without the permission of the iraqis even if (jt)urjju deteriorated. is that correct? >> that's correct. all of our combat forces are to be out by august 2010 and all forces out by 2011. we to have flexibility in terms of the pacing of the withdrawals
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between now and end of august but even with the hiccups over the elections the problems with e respect to the election law, at this the point the general % doesn't see a pacing to withdrawal troops in iraq. >> that was agreed to with president bush. ons, is that correct? >> that is correct. >> it took time, but from your comment this morning, and since the time was well spent. one aspect of this was it would not have had the flow of forces as quickly as the final plan adopted by the present, is that correct? >> in particular, with respect to the nato forces that are not committed yet, we would hope to -- we are hoping they would be available more quickly and that we will do everything we can to
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get as much capability in as quickly as possible. it is the accelerated to some degree, but i do not> i would add that the final component of his original request, the final brigade combat team would not have arrived in afghanistan until the summer of 2011. my own personal recommendation was, there is no need to commit to that, since it is so far in the future. so to admiral mullen's point earlier, fundamentally, general mcchrystal is getting more troops faster than under the original plan. >> and under -- let me just rephrase that. this process, as you have suggested, has produced, in your mind, a better proposal across the board than originally was
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submitted by the individual components, the ambassador, general mcchrystal, etc. >> i am convinced everybody in the process feels that way. one of the concerns that i had coming out of the march decisions was that they were interpreted very broadly in the press and elsewhere as a commitment to full scale nation- building and creating a strong central governments in kabul, and brought understandable skepticism over such broad objectives. it sounded very open ended. one of the principal components of the dialogue over the last three months is, how do we refine and narrow the mission to make it achievable and achieve the objectives in terms of our own security? >> some of the criticism of even talking about a date, regardless of whether it is a hard,
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unconditional withdrawal as in iraq, were those of the president, is that it would emboldened the enemy on one hand, or on the other hand, they would lie low and wait us out. strikes me as that the taliban has been emboldened quite aggressively the last several years without any kind of deadline. if they see it out, what will you do if they simply gave up the operational space to us for 18 months or two years? >> we certainly would welcome them not being active for the next 18 months, because it would give us an open field running with our allies and the afghans to build capacity. and you make the point, we are already in the situation in which they are emboldened, and in which they are being aggressive. where they have the momentum right now, so it is not clear to me what more they could do than they are doing right now. the forces we are sending and are intended in the first
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instance, as the admiral has said, to reverse the momentum and deny them the ability to control territory. >> thank all of you for your presentations this morning and for your service to the country. we only have one commander in chief, and i want to be supportive. i think this plan is within the framework of something i think can be affected. i intend to support you can examine it as we go forward to make sure that we are fulfilling our role here in congress as oversight and responsibility to our constituents. i want to thank you for your presentations. secretary gates, we talked early this year abouttoo grandiose expectations about a country that is as poor as afghanistan. you recognized that in your
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answer to our questions, and i'd like to pursue that a little bit. what can we realistically expect, and how can we create stability and order in afghanistan as soon as possible, so that we can reduce of our troops as soon as possible for that country. i am hearing a commitment to an afghan national force, which i assume is commanded from the central government inkabul. you did indicate in your statement that you would want to engage committees to enlist more local security forces to protect their own territory. i heard the former secretary on television talk about the need for local militias.
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i see in an op ed and "the "washington journal" as saying that afghans for centuries have been governed loosely through the social compact between all the ethnic groups under a sovereign king, so again, how do you envision transitioning to local security forces, and to what extent must those forces be directly the local? >> the balance we have to strike, and i have believed ever since i got this job that we have been too focused on the central government in kabul and not enough on the provinces and
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the districts and the tribes. the key here is a community security organizations that are willing to work with the government in kabul and that do not:asíñ become the militias for warlords. the balance we are trying to strike, and what general mcchrystal cares about a lot, as does everybody else, it's how we encourage these local policing functions? some of the efforts i have seen where they recruit locals and the tribal elders are telling me that the roads that have been closed by the taliban for years have been reopened by these mobile groups, but they are within the framework of the provincial governor and the district leadership, so that they are not operating independently, working for warlords.
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the during out how to encourage that kind of activity and build on a, but keep it within the framework of people who are in covering positions and not just independent warlords is the key to that effort. that kind of sub national effort i think ultimately will play an important role in all this. >> the governor still appoints the commanders of the national guard in america, and i think there is a sense of loyalty and fierce commitment to local afghanistan that we may not be fully respecting. i think you are on the right track with that thought. one of the generals who i met in the pentagon recently had a picture of one of the local officials on his wall, and he was very impressed with a very strong leader who was doing very
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good work. i am not sure how well he would perform if everything had to be run through the national government. >> i would just add, i think that one of the keys here, in a country that is as rural and tribal as afghanistan, one of the challenges in recruiting people for the army and the police is getting them to leave their local area, and that is why i think these local security activities, if we can work with the afghans to keep have such promise, because these guys are basically protecting their own turf. >> i cannot agree more. they can be paid what for them would be a good wage, but far less than it would cost to have
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american soldier there. mr. secretary, i regret to have to raise the problem with the tanker competition. i noticed that northrop grumman team has announced a concern so great that they are announcing they may pullout from the competition. a number of serious changes were made in rfp, each one of those tilted against a transformational aircraft were tilted against a larger aircraft, an aircraft that could provide more cargo capacity and other capabilities. the initial rfp was received with very great concern by the northrop team, and well they could, because it is quite different on the differentrfp. there is no doubt about that. all the change is tilted in the
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way i have mentioned. my question briefly to you is, do you believe that competition is important in this aircraft for the defense department and the war fighter, and number two, will you consider discussing some of these matters and be open to changing and rfp it is not fair and does not do the job that you need for the defense department? as a final decision been made to make absolutely no changes in this entire process of discussion. >> we promised a fair and highly transparentps3d process. we believe that the rflp is even-handed. we are in a comment period, and
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we have received a lot of comments both from the competitors and from the congress and others. the commentsperiod is coming to a close. if we were totally locked into not changing anything, we cannot have gone through the comment period. we will look at the comments that have been made and make a judgment at that point. we believe that both the principal competitors are gh >> we believe both principal competitors are highly qualified and we'd like to see this continued in this process. >> secretary of state hillary clinton and robert gates and joint's chief robert mu len return to testify again about u.s. troop levels and strategy in afghanistan. the testimony before administrations committee is live on-line at 9:00 am eastern on c-span.org. secretary gates admiral mullins%
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will testify before the house armed services commitáee live on c-span three and c-span radio at 1:00 profit margins eastern. "washington journal" is next with the day's news and your phone calls and the house is in section at 10:00 eastern. today a bill that will extend the current state tax. and in about 1/2 hour a preview of the white house job summit with us as tin schoolsby of the economic advisor and martin rage l.a. and one of the businessmen invited to attend. david ikerd with air traffic incorporated the company that makes planes for fighting

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